Remember: a man is not a woman.
When we're in relationships we tend to make a lot of mistakes, and a lot of it is a common root: No matter how long we've been dating — and for a lot of us it feels like decades —we still have no idea what we are doing when it comes to the opposite sex.
The thing is, we're not as easy as we think we are, and we can use all the help we can get. For a little guidance, we turned to the ideal experts: lesbians. They know how women feel because they are women, and yet also have to deal with dating women. That makes them the best person to ask what the hell we're doing wrong.
1. Learn to communicate effectively.
"What I notice more as a common thread when they complain to me is this: 'He never listens! He just doesn't listen!' and 'I just don't know how he will take it if I tell him how I feel.' These two threads are so connected. Women have an underlying fear of rejection from the opposite sex, and because of that they tend to hold back a lot of truth and emotion that is important for building a healthy romantic connection," says Aracelly Anaya, a lesbian woman.
2. Stop with the catfishing.
"You can't spend the dating part of the relationship being someone you really aren't to impress a guy, and then get upset when he leaves you when you show who you really are. Not that who you are isn't enough, but who you are isn't what you showed him in the first place," says Anaya.
He liked that person you were pretending to be and he didn't know it wasn't you. So how can you blame him when he leaves?
3. Be completely upfront and raw.
It may sound cliché and get a few eye rolls, but honestly, especially in the beginning, what have you got to lose? Put it all out there!
"Be expressive and raw. That way when he stays, he stays for you, and as the relationship grows he will listen to the things you don't even say. I don't think that men don't listen as much as women don't really ask upfront. They expect a brother to guess," says Anaya.
4. Remember, a man is not a woman.
Obviously you know this, but remember: They are not built like us.
"They don't multitask. If he's watching the game, don't ask for anything. Wait until you have his full attention and spell it out if you have to. Don't beat around the bush and then do the every-female-thing which is, 'Well, he should have known!' Why? Because you knew? He's a man. Just assume he doesn't know until you tell him," says Anaya.
5. Don't call each other 'mommy' and 'daddy' unless you want your sex life to die.
"If you're in it for years and have children, please don't call each other mommy and daddy. That turns me off. You are husband and wife and need to stay thirsty for each other," says Anaya. "Even if it's a fort picnic in the living room after the kids go to bed. Don't lose yourself in parent land!" says Anaya. "Yes, it's the most important thing you are doing together, but you also have to live with each other again after these rugrats move out."
Don't be strangers when they do just because you didn't make time to connect.
6. Stop reading dumb magazines.
Stop reading magazines titled things like, "If he looks at you for more than 3 seconds he's in love."
"Come on, now. Have some faith in yourself to know when someone has fallen for you. Those magazines not only make women look weak, but they're very wrong. They set you up to look like Tara Reid at any point in her life," says Julia Ozimek, a lesbian woman.
7. Don't be clingy; let him miss you.
"I know it's hard when you really like someone to go slow, but take a breath. Let someone miss you." But at the same time, don't play games. "These dumbass, 'You can't text him until it's been three days and you've spun on your head counter clockwise'? That's also bullsh*t. If you want to say hello, say hello. It's always nice to get a good morning text. But read the signs. If it's taking them two hours to reply, they are either not really interested, or texts aren't that important to them," says Ozimek.
Value yourself, and the person you're interested in will, too.
8. Talk about your fantasies as often as you would you talk about your kid's schedules.
"The more you know about what makes you burn, the more fun you will have. The more you share with your partner, the better sex will be. Spend time talking about your fantasies and desires as often as you spend time talking about daily events, your worries and your fears and your relationship will sizzle for many years to come, " says Dr. Lori Bisbey, a bisexual relationship coach.
9. Stop downplaying your own needs.
"Women are socialized to think his feelings are more important than ours. They're not. My girlfriend and I communicate our needs and wants more openly because neither of us automatically defers to protecting the male feelings at all costs. We're thoughtful and considerate but approach discussions as emotional equals. Putting your needs first may feel awkward in the short-term, but pay such dividends in the long-term," says Kat Stark, a pansexual woman.